It seems that lately, the only thing more difficult than finding someone we want to enter into a relationship with, is figuring out exactly how to make that relationship last when we finally do.
It’s important to remember that the effort it took to get someone’s attention will also be the effort it takes to keep someone’s attention. Nobody will end up happy if you immediately become comfortable and complacent after commitment has been established. You’ve got to keep stoking the fire.
Here are a few tips for making it happen.
When you are ‘dating’ someone, it is not just an arbitrary term to signify exclusivity. It should literally mean that you are actually frequently going on dates with each other. It is the natural instinct when we end up in a relationship to take a deep sigh of relief, sit down on the couch, and start ordering takeout.
It’s great that two people develop that sort of comfort with each other, but we can’t let too much comfort creep in, because that leads to complacency and lack of effort.
Don’t Houdini on your friends.
I know, when you are with someone new you want to spend all of the time you possibly can with them – but this often results in ‘Houdini relationships,’ where both people completely disappear from their social circles. Someday, if your relationship ends, this will make things very (very) awkward when you suddenly reappear from the ashes and want to hang out.
If your new guy or girl is great enough for you to commit to, they should also be great enough to bring around your friends. Stay active socially, it will keep everyone happier in the long run.
Slowly get to know their friends, too.
For the same reason as the above point, but for their sake, you don’t want to be that boyfriend or girlfriend who poached a member of a close group of friends. Plus, especially early on in a relationship, their friend’s opinion of you is going to matter, at least to some extent.
It is a slow integration of the two of you into each other’s existing social lives – putting effort into this area is important.
Do not invade their privacy.
Right before you start looking through their phone or opening up their Facebook inbox when they are not around – Don’t. Even though you are still working to gain each other’s trust, trying to snoop around to see what you can find out is not the right way to do it.
Betraying somebody’s trust in order to find out if they are trustworthy is the first ingredient to an explosive recipe down the road, because they will find out.
Be completely honest about what matters to you and what doesn’t.
The first few months of your relationship are essential to learning about each other, what they like (and don’t like), what is important to them, and what other building blocks you will use to create your foundation.
It is impossible to stress how important open and honest communication is during this time, because it will set the precedence for your entire relationship. If you do not start off telling your partner everything, it’s not as if you’re suddenly going to start doing it 6 months from now. What you begin, will continue.
Since this is a new person in our lives, we cannot expect them to know what’s important to us and what’s not. If an event is coming up soon that you really want them to attend with you, don’t leave the invitation open ended and then get mad when they choose not to go. Be straightforward with them, and they should give you the same courtesy in return.
Be adventurous in the bedroom.
Relationships are supposed to be fun and exciting. If they’re not, then what’s the point? Use this time to explore each other both emotionally and physically. Learn what they enjoy, and communicate to them what you enjoy. Try new things, expand your horizons. Have fun, and have it often, dammit.
Understand giving each other space is okay.
I know when we are first with someone it is tempting to do everything with them all of the time – but there is still such a thing as too much of something good.
For this point it is important that you feel each other out and do what works best for the individual situation. Some people will love having you around as much as humanly possible. Others will need to ease into it a little bit more. This is also a job for open and honest communication.
Don’t hold back on the compliments.
This is someone new who you are attracted to both physically and emotionally. Don’t keep them guessing when it comes to how you feel – if they are still learning how you show your love and affection, the more surefire way to eliminate any doubt is to just come out and tell them.
Be adventurous outside of the bedroom.
Try new things, go new places, experience new experiences – together. Uncover things that neither of you have done before, and then go do them. This is a great way to create your own memories together unique to your relationship.
Go with the flow and…Just. Have. Fun.
I can’t tell you how many new relationships I see that seem to just be all drama and chaos, even in the beginning. I never understood the reason for this. This is a person who is supposed to be your friend, your lover, your teammate in life. If they are not someone you genuinely enjoy your time with, then why are you spending it with them?
Be flexible and understanding. Learn together, grow together, and laugh together.
That’s what lasting relationships are all about.
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